The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket set a record for reusability.
A Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Tuesday at 11:38 p.m. EDT (0338 GMT Sept. 20), carrying 22 SpaceX Starlink internet satellites toward low-Earth orbit (LEO). .
The rocket’s first stage returned to Earth 8.5 minutes after launch, landing on a SpaceX drone ship stationed at sea.
Related: Starlink Space Train: How to See and Track It in the Night Sky
This was the 17th takeoff and landing of the Falcon 9 first stage, according to A.J SpaceX mission description. These numbers are unprecedented. The previous mark was 16, and it was carried by two different Falcon 9 boosters.
Meanwhile, the 22 Starlink satellites were deployed from the Falcon 9 rocket’s upper stage 62.5 minutes after launch as planned.
Tuesday night’s launch set another record, too: It was SpaceX’s 65th orbital mission of the year. The company’s previous mark, 61, was set in 2022.
Most of SpaceX’s launches this year have been dedicated to building the massive Starlink constellation, which currently consists of planet Earth More than 4,700 operational satellites. This number should continue to grow for some time, as SpaceX has received permission to lift 12,000 Starlink vehicles and applied for approval for an additional 30,000 vehicles.
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